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Published: Monday, 3/11/2013

Bedford schools likely to end year with $1.2M deficit

School closure expected to help cover shortfall


TEMPERANCE — In a busy meeting last week, the Bedford Public Schools Board of Education said it expects to finish the current school year with a $1.2 million budget deficit.

A deficit elimination plan filed with the Michigan Department of Education brings spending into balance with revenue at the end of the 2014-15 year.

Among the cuts included in it is the elimination of busing for secondary students starting next year.

The amended plan approved by the board would achieve a balanced budget two years later. If accepted, it would postpone the end of secondary school busing to 2014-15.

Superintendent Jon White said this would give the district more time to come up with an equivalent savings to satisfy the deficit elimination plan. He said he believed ending busing for high school students posed potential safety hazards.

In other business, the school board approved closing Temperance Road Elementary, which came as no surprise.

Mr. White said last month he would recommend closing the 55-year-old school, the district's oldest and smallest, to help deal with the Bedford system's persistent deficit.

A community meeting last week attracted hundreds to the Bedford High School auditorium.

Shuttering Temperance Road is projected to cut costs by up to $850,000 annually.

Member Tim Brakel said his son had attended Temperance Road and closing it "grieves me." He noted the closing would deliver a blow to the namesake community of Temperance as well.

Before the board vote, Mr. White said the district has been hit hard by declining enrollments and shrinking state support. In the 2010-11 year, per-student funding from the state was $7,316; in the 2013-14 year, it is is expected to be $7,016.

Meanwhile, the board approved the resignation of Ken Graf, Temperance Road Elementary’s principal, who is retiring.

The board also recognized the district's school nurses and health aides and the Bionic Broncos and Loose Screws robotics teams.

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